Show & Tell: Teaching Technology


24 kids, riveted with attention on their teacher, excited to get out their laptops to finish their writing lesson of the day. Yes, every kid using a laptop in the third grade on this regular day in Mrs. Beckler’s literacy class.

Turns out this is an exciting new part of the classroom for our kids – Bill Roberts wrote and earned a grant last year that now provides a specialized technology teacher to co-teach in the classroom and give the teachers new resources to make their lessons richer and more interactive for students.

Thanks to the grant funding, three BR teachers are now designated half-time to give real-time, in-classroom support to any teacher in any subject, at any grade level:

Jeff Lewis – Technology
Jamie Salturelli - Content Lead
Lynn Burnham – Data Team Lead

“This has already been an incredible help in my class,” says Mrs. Beckler says of the technology co-teacher. “I get to extend my literacy lessons onto the laptops and it’s magical how engaged the kids are.”

BecklerBlog2photosThe Google ChromeBook cart rolls into her classroom, about the size of a tall skinny dorm frig, containing 30 charging laptops. Each student is assigned a numbered computer and
carefully takes it to their desk to continue the writing lesson.

Today, their writing prompt is “How will we create a successful and happy crew of learners?” The teacher shows them on the overhead how to log in and a new feature to use today called “tagging.”

“Mr. Lewis taught me about tagging, I learned something new!” Mrs. Beckler tells her class. “In my mind it’s like a ‘tab’ that zips you to a spot where you keep info. Say I wanted to find everything ever written about bearded dragons. If I tagged something ‘Bearded Dragons,’ it would ‘zoop’ to that spot,” she shows the students on the overhead as she talks.

“So let’s try to tag something today and see how that works – today our tag is ‘Learners’.” She shows on the overhead where tag box is, spells “Learners” on the board. What follows is a quiet classroom of kids intent on their writing lesson with Mrs. Beckler and Mr. Lewis helping each student.

The first week of the school year, Mr. Lewis also lead staff and teachers in a Google docs training that was immediately put into use.

Another example came from Ms. Douglas for her English Language Acquisition (ELA) students. When a new student from Hungary arrived this year with almost no English, she asked Mr. Lewis for help in creating a library of podcast-read
books so that students can hear correct English and read along as they learn a new language.

“This is great for our school,” says Lewis. “I have a foot in my classroom teaching and I get to add value in my area of expertise – technology.” 

Watch for more to come about the impact of this hands-on teaching in our classrooms to be featured on the “Show & Tell” page.